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2/18/10

Power of The Written Word

Have you ever done the exercise where you make a collage with pictures of all the things [you think] you want? I have, and surprisingly, a lot of it happened. The little house by the marsh - totally happened. Hardwood floors - same (not in the marsh house though).

I've been thinking about that lately - why does writing something down have more power than keeping it in my head?
For me, writing a list is the first step to doing them. If I'm putting off doing stuff around the house (for instance my arch nemesis, painting), I make a list. Somehow the act of writing down what needs to be done compels me to do the items on the list and mark them off. (I LOVE marking things off. Seriously, it's almost like a drug, it makes me that happy)
If I forget a grocery list at home, I can recall most of it by picturing it in my head and seeing myself writing down what I needed.

That brings me to my confession: sometimes I wish my mother would cross over. See, can't write the word (you know the one I'm thinking). My superstitious Irish DNA coupled with what I wrote above prevents me.

To be clear, this would be, not for me, but for her. Although I would have a bit less stress for sure, but most of the stress I have is connected to worrying about her having enough money.

There is an odd comfort when people die fast, (doesn't count, already happened), like my dad did. Less than 24 hours, all done. No suffering, no slow descent into the abyss.

As I looked at the once impeccably dressed woman with dirty hair wearing a hodge-podge of clothes sitting across from me at dinner last week, after she told me she liked my new nurse (purse), a crushing wave of sadness hit me. Does she have quality of life? What is that? Who defines it? Does she have it because she can still walk and talk, because she's aware she's alive?

Later, when she couldn't get her mint unwrapped, she started laughing and doing an exaggerated palsy, because she reminded herself of the people who "shake" at Wynwood. I said - those people have a disease or sometimes their meds cause that, they can't help it. Yes they can! - she said.
This is NOT my mother.

My mother - the empathic, impartial, concerned, caring person that raised me, who comforted me when I was sick, who put my crappy artwork on the mantle, who loved me when it felt like no one else did, is no longer there. Hasn't been here for awhile.

She has lost her independence, her husband, her friends, her home, her pets, the ability to hold a conversation, to remember words, the names of her grandchildren. She's all packed for a trip she's never going to take, hoping to move back into a house she's never going to live in again.

What does she have to look forward to? More forgetting, more deterioration of her body and mind. Maybe this is the worst time, the worst place - the purgatory, because she still knows she's not right anymore. She knows she's not who she was, how she was.

And there is no going back.

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